Match Preview: Cambridge City (A)
Stowmarket Town are back in Emirates FA Cup action tonight with a trip to higher-league Cambridge City in the first qualifying round.
This evening’s tie at The Glassworld Stadium, home of 2018-19 Premier Division champions Histon, will be Stow’s first appearance at this stage of the competition in 19 years.
Wins over Rothwell Corinthians and Yaxley have taken Rick Andrews’ men through the preliminary rounds, but they will have to overcome another Step 4 side tonight if they are to make it through to the second qualifying round for the first time since 2001.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of tonight’s game…
Cambridge City v Stowmarket Town / Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round / The Glassworld Stadium / Tuesday 22nd September 2020 / 7.45pm kick-off
Setting the scene: Stow put their first defeat of the season, the 4-1 reverse to neighbours Needham Market, behind them by beating Thetford Town 2-0 at the weekend. A second-half double from Jack Ainsley got Rick’s side over the line at Mundford Road, and made it seven points won from their opening three league games of the new campaign. Tonight’s hosts Cambridge play a league higher than Stow, in the Isthmian League North Division, and were sat in ninth place last term before the 2019-20 season was cut short.
What’s the team news? There was an early injury concern at Thetford on Saturday when Craig Parker (hamstring) was brought off. Parker has scored in each of Stow’s two FA Cup ties so far, but it is unclear whether he will be declared fit for tonight. Christy Finch (ribs) is the only confirmed absentee for this evening’s game. Rick could look to recall some of the club’s younger players, including Alex Clarke, Aiden Phair and Charlie Lockwood, as he is allowed up to seven substitutes for FA Cup fixtures.
How are Cambridge doing? The Lilywhites were a Step 2 side as recently as 2008, before being demoted to Step 3 after their ground failed an FA inspection. Cambridge then dropped down to Step 4 in 2017, where they have remained ever since, and last season saw them transferred from the Southern League to the Isthmian League. City kicked off their 2020-21 campaign in style with a 4-0 win against Biggleswade United in the FA Cup, but got their league fixtures off to a losing start with a 1-0 defeat at home to Tilbury last weekend.
What happened last time we met? By all accounts this will be the first competitive meeting between the two clubs’ first teams. Earlier this month, Stow and Cambridge’s under-18s met in the FA Youth Cup, with Cambridge progressing 5-4 on penalties after the game finished 0-0. City have had recent meetings with several Suffolk sides though, after transferring to the Isthmian League last season, which includes the likes of AFC Sudbury, Bury Town and Felixstowe & Walton United.
One to watch: Frontman Ryan Sharman has caught the eye in the early weeks of the season for City, netting a brace in their opening game 4-0 win against Biggleswade United a couple of weeks ago. The ex-Soham Town Rangers man returned to Cambridge for his second spell with the club early on last season, after leaving to join Leiston, and has regularly been among the goals.
League and FA Cup action: A busy night with no fewer than eight Thurlow Nunn League clubs involved in the FA Cup, plus two unbeaten sides face off in the Premier Division. Current leaders Kirkley & Pakefield put their 100 per cent record on the line against Norwich United at Plantation Park.
Tuesday 22nd September
Norwich United v Kirkley & Pakefield
Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round
Brantham Athletic v St Ives Town
Cambridge City v Stowmarket Town
Ely City v Biggleswade
Haverhill Rovers v Maldon & Tiptree
Kings Langley v FC Clacton
Leighton Town v Mildenhall Town
Long Melford v Cheshunt
Royston Town v Wroxham
All games kick-off at 7.45pm
Coming to the game tonight?
A reminder that capacity at Cambridge tonight is limited to 400. Buy your ticket online here